UEFA Champions League

Messi, Mbappé, Neymar to start?

Publish on 15/09/2021 at 10:00


Paris Saint-Germain's trip to face Club Brugge in UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 action could be the first glimpse the world gets of one of the most potent attacking trios ever assembled. France, Europe and the world await the match with bated breath...

UEFA Champions League Group A

Matchday 1

Jan Breydel Stadion, Bruges

Club Brugge - Paris Saint-Germain

- Kick-off at 20:00 GMT

Paris Saint-Germain's summer recruitment drive was one for the ages, but the Copa America and Euro 2020 have led to a staggered re-start for the club's biggest names. As a consequence - and perhaps fittingly - it will be in the Champions League that the capital club's dream attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar play their first minutes together in official competition.

Winning the Champions League is the driving force behind the pains taken to secure the three superstars and so the pressure for the trio - and the team, and the coach - to clinch a dazzling win will be huge.

'We are going to enjoy it'

But PSG's Argentinean coach Mauricio Pochettino, whose side sits atop the Ligue 1 Uber Eats standings with a perfect record of five wins from five matches, sees this as an opportunity.

"There isn't anything better than being part of this competition," said the man in the hotseat. "When the staff think about it, we always say that we have the responsibility - the pressure - but we are also the ones who have the chance to be part of history, to live this experience. And we are going to enjoy it."

Messi praise

Indeed, it's easy to imagine that a coach could enjoy having Lionel Messi in his team, and Pochettino is clearly an admirer of the diminutive forward.

"He will always be considered among the best in the world. Since he arrived, he has really adapted very quickly and he's been training very well, trying to achieve his highest level as soon as possible to compete at his best," continued the PSG boss. "I have also admired him for a long time when facing him as an opponent, so having him now training with us is really nice. We hope that, together, we will be able to achieve what the club desires."


Aside from the all-star front three - which has Neymar set to make his first appearance of the 2021-22 season - Pochettino is tipped to field a starting XI featuring Messi's fellow new recruits Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum.

With Marco Verratti injured and Idrissa Gueye suspended, there could be starting spots for Argentine Leandro Paredes and Spaniard Ander Herrera, who bagged two goals in PSG's 4-0 Round Ligue 1 Uber Eats demolition of Clermont Foot.

Probable teams

Paris Saint-Germain:
Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos (c), Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Paredes, Wijnaldum; Messi, Mbappé, Neymar

Club Brugge: Mignolet; Mechele, Hendry, Nsoki; Mata, Vormer (c), Alvarez Balana, Vanaken, Sobol; Lang, De Ketelaere